“Research has found that girls who feel good about themselves and respect their bodies – regardless of what they look like - are more likely to be physically active and eat healthy. They are less likely to gain unnecessary weight and they make healthy lifestyle choices far into the future. How we think about our bodies and our beauty has everything to do with how we treat ourselves.” Source.
A few of my female acquaintances have gotten into the habit of talking badly about their bodies, but it’s doing them more harm than good. They are no longer the happy, down-to-earth people they used to be. Instead, they’re idolizing “thinspo” — pictures of photoshopped, itsy bitsy women — and getting caught up in the vicious yo-yo diet cycle. They’re unhappy and not happy about their bodies.
WHO IS TO BLAME?
Sure, we can point fingers at the media. But the media is only a representation of our cultures’ views. The media uses our idealism in order to move merchandise. And the ideal the media represents is this: we need makeup, a “hot body” (whatever that is), and perfect hair to be anybody. Does the media come up with that idea on our own? Or do we as a society perpetuate that idea?
HOW TO FIX THE SELF-IMAGE CRISIS
Health, happiness, weight loss, self-actualization, success…. everything starts with the right attitude. If you look into the mirror and say, “I can’t wear a tank top today because my arms look fat” then you’re putting yourself down. Your arms look fat? Who told you that? Why are you letting that stop you? Are you going to wear a sweater to the pool because you’re afraid of criticism? HELL NO.
So what’s the right attitude? I’ll break it down for you…
- Wear whatever YOU want to wear. Skinny jeans? Do it. Bikini? Abso-freaking-lutely. A summer dress? YES.
- Eat healthy and respect your body. McDonalds six times a day? Nah, gurl, you’re too good for that. Fat-free no-carb zero calorie cardboard for ever meal? Hell no. Eat fruits, veggies, lean protein and drink lots of water. It’s simple!
- Show the haters to the door with a smile and a wave. Poise, my friends, is the best weapon in your arsenal. (Next to those killer jab-cross-uppercut combos you’re learning in your kickboxing class– muggers beware). You’ve got your own thing going on. If people feel like criticizing your weight/height/breast size/preference of books (What do you mean “WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE” isn’t on the list of acceptable reading for AP language?!) you can kindly kick them out of your party. Keep calm and come up with a cool comeback for bonus points.
- Surround yourself with positive influences. Instead of gossiping with your friends about how much you weigh, how about brag about how many miles you can run, or how you’re DEFINITELY going to be the next candidate on Survivor? Instead of aspiring to be like the images of Photoshopped celebrities and models you see, how about you find real life role models? Like your coach or your Varsity track runner/best friend? The longer you hang around a group of people, the more you begin to reflect their mannerisms. YOU ARE WHO YOU HANG OUT WITH.
Fix your attitude, fix your life!